AN ADDRESS PRESENTED BY FR JOSEPH OPELEMA, THE VICAR GENERAL ON THE OCCASION OF THE 12TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION OF HIS EPISCOPAL ORDINATION AT OUR LADY OF THE WATERS CATHEDRAL BOMADI ON THIS 1ST DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2020.
Your Lordship, Most Rev Dr Hyacinth Oroko (MSP) Catholic Bishop of Bomadi Diocese,
Chairman of the Occasion,
Very Rev and Rev Fathers,
President of the Bomadi Diocesan Laity Council,
Knights and Ladies,
Brothers and Sisters in Christ.
On behalf of the Clergy, Religious and the entire Christ’s faithful of the Catholic Diocese of Bomadi, I wish to congratulate Your Lordship, Most Rev Dr Hyacinth Oroko Egbebo (MSP) our dynamic Bishop, on this auspicious occasion of the 12th Anniversary Celebration of your Episcopal Ordination.
Twelve is a special number and it is significant in scripture. Twelve is a symbol of faith.
The book of Genesis states that there were twelve sons of Jacob and those twelve sons formed the twelve tribes of Israel. Our Lord Jesus Christ called twelve Apostles and he taught in the temple at the age of twelve. At the miracle of the multiplication of loaves, twelve baskets remained full. In the book of Revelation, the number twelve shows the authority and perfection of God’s kingdom. In numerology, the number twelve signifies completion, perfection and authority. More often than not, the number twelve tends to represent something good. We have twelve months to make a perfect year.
Your Lordship you are twelve years as a bishop. The attainment of this age ushers in goodness, perfection and blessings upon our diocese.
On this special occasion Your Lordship, we congratulate and thank you for the wonderful service and transformation you have brought to the diocese within these twelve fruitful years. Being a Bishop in a diocese like ours is not easy. Yet these twelve years have been marked with much success and hard work. In other places bishops sit at home and receive gifts and donations. In our case, you go out cap in hand to solicit for the benevolence of generous benefactors and benefactresses. What is inspiring about you is that you commit the proceeds of these endeavors to the human and structural development of the diocese. Our Diocese has been blessed to have you as Bishop at this point in time.
I knew your Lordship long before you became a Bishop. You have been passionate about the faith of your people and about their well-being. You have been upset by the backwardness of the Niger Delta area especially the neglect, abandonment and oppression by successive military and civilian regimes at the federal and state levels. You love your people and want them to have the best and be among the best. When you were appointed Bishop, motivated by this you chose for your logo Jn 10:10 “that they may have life and have it to the full.” You came as Bishop to enliven the spiritual and physical well-being of your people. Your apostolate has been characterized by a natural urge to lift your people from the shackles of poverty to a reasonable standard of life. For this reason, you cherish your role as a shepherd to the down-trodden people of the Niger Delta. In line with this, you have placed emphasis on the school apostolate not only as a means of evangelization but also as a means of uplifting the standard and dignity of the people. You have shown this in many other ways, especially in the way you care for the poor and the needy. You are a thoughtful and kind person. Your love for the poor and under privileged is unparalleled.
Your Lordship, you are a strong promoter of vocations. You have shown consistent and faithful support to seminarians and seminaries. Under you, we have had increased number of priests for ordinations. We also have more seminarians.
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, one remarkable event we cannot forget in the history of the ecclesiastical circumscription called the Catholic Diocese of Bomadi is the elevation from Vicariate to a Diocese. This landmark achievement was as a result of the hard work of the Bishop in collaboration with the Clergy, Religious and Laity of the Diocese and the powerful intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary and the intervention of our Lord Jesus Christ.With the desire to expand and reach out to the nooks and crannies of the dioceses, His Lordship has created seventeen parishes within the twelve years of his episcopacy. We the Clergy, Religious and Lay faithful of this Diocese cherish and appreciate you as our shepherd. On this happy occasion My Lord, we pledge our continued support as we wish you many fruitful years ahead.
Finally, we thank you for what you are doing in the diocese and with one voice we say, CONGRATULATIONS.